Friday, 14 August 2015

De La Warr Pavilion: Towards an alternative history of graphic design Schmuck, POP, bRIAN, Assembling

Lo-fi press from the 60s and 70s is a pretty hi-fi-nance affair these days, the stuff we call money (owning of) being relative, of course. Still, you have to shell out a fair bit (I'll call it that) for whatever's deemed collectable in the vintage small press market. My 90s 'zine will no doubt be worth a bomb one day, probably exhibited in a saliva-drenched glass case in a future exhibition...or perhaps not.

I imagine what's shown at the De La Warr Pavilion's exhibition, Towards an alternative history of graphic design Schmuck, POP, bRIAN, Assembling, would test your determination, cost-wise. Dealers determine the prices, of course, or at least opt for the maximum they can, praying that a suitably well-off buyer comes along. Even the Punk zine, Sniffing Glue, is going for £7,500 (complete set) on one site. Yes, very Punk. It's not even artistically interesting, as you probably know. But it was early in the Punk zine avalanche.

Enough about money (I talk of the stuff as a would-be buyer who doesn't have much!). Here we can have a gander at some great examples of wayward publications; poetry and pictures as printed matter. Much of it's 'rough and by no means technically perfect', as they say on the site, which is the point nowadays, the appeal, I should say. In this age when apparently anyone can make a magazine, the temptation is to make one that's as clean and professional-looking as possible. But here we see the adventure of ideas, amateurish enthusiasm abounds. You can't buy that. Or rather, learn it. 

Perhaps too much emphasis is placed on 'looking good' according to industry standards rather than taking an aesthetic stance against bourgeois notions of 'quality'. 

Bexhill-on-Sea is a low-key resort which, along with the amazing art deco Pavilion, is the reason we love it. Minus gaudy 'attractions' (even the amusement arcade was shut!) it hasn't sold itself out to commerce, much like these magazines. The exhibition's on until October 4th and if you've any interest in small press publications you should pay a visit. Admission is free.

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